Home' Rhythms Magazine : 2016 Nov-Dec Contents 18 Rhythms
along with Jerry Douglas and the late mike
auldridge, rob ickes has brought the Dobro brilliantly
to the forefront in bluegrass and way beyond. He’s a
fourteen-time winner of the iBma Dobro player of
the year and will be touring here later in the year! He
has so many fine recordings, most recently with trey
Hensley and has featured on literally thousands of
country and bluegrass albums of note.
The late Mike Auldridge was the catalyst for many a
Dobro player’s career including yours. What did he
bring to the instrument after the era of Josh Graves
and “Brother” Oswald?
Mike brought a tone and a really clean sound that was
new and some new left hand techniques that allowed
this to happen. He had a bigger vision for what was
possible on the instrument than others had before him.
He pursued that vision and was really the first to put
the Dobro "front and centre" on his solo recordings and
albums with “The Seldom Scene”. The Dobro was a
bigger part of that band sound than any before.
The vanguard of modern bluegrass pickers seems
intent on pushing the boundaries and drawing in many
influences and new instrument combinations- your
recording “Road Song” (piano and dobro) featuring
some great jazz standards is a case in point. Could you
elaborate on the genesis of that?
I met this great piano player, Michael Alvey, a few years
back. He was actually my daughter's music teacher at her
elementary school. He knew my music and invited me to
come in and play for the kids one day. When I got there,
Michael was sitting at the piano, ready to play. I hadn't
played with a piano player much, so I wasn't sure what
we'd do. I asked if he wanted to play a blues and he said
"sure." I couldn't believe what an amazing player he was!
There was an immediate musical connection and we
started getting together informally. I'm a big jazz fan and
I was thrilled to play with someone who really knew the
music and could teach me about chords and melodies,
and how it all fits together. I learned so much.
Strangely, one thing I’ve really noticed with great
Dobro players is their ability to provide rhythm and
back-up too. Although it’s essentially a fills and solos
instrument, you must have worked on that aspect?
Yes, I listened to what the mandolin was doing, and tried
to recreate that. I loved Tony Rice's rhythm playing, and
I stole a lot from him- dynamic ideas, chord voicings, etc.
John Scofield has been a big influence also- his chords
ideas. I always thought the Dobro had some similarities
to the electric guitar. I guess it's the sustain of the note.
The sound you produce with Trey, to my ear, appears
to have taken bluegrass interplay to its ultimate level!
What’s left to explore?
Ha! There's always plenty more to explore, music is
infinite! But I am very excited about this project with
Trey. He has soaked up so many musical styles so
quickly. He is one of the most talented people I’ve ever
worked with, and I have worked with some amazing
artists! And that's another thing I like about this project
is that we can do some bluegrass things, but we can also
do some Country, and Blues, some “Grateful Dead” stuff,
originals...we have a lot of options.
We’ve had precious few giants of bluegrass visit these
shores as I suspect there’s so much to keep you busy in
the US. What have you got planned?
We are really looking forward to this trip! It'll be a first for
both of us. We'll be performing every day, but probably
no time for teaching on this trip. Maybe next time! Can't
wait to visit your country!
It’s wonderful that you’re determined to impart your
knowledge and experience via such things as your
“ResoSummit” in Nashville. Can you tell me about that
event – I know some Aussies that go to that and I’m
sure more would love to!
“ResoSummit” is a 4 day intensive teaching weekend
for Dobro students that we put on in nashville every
Fall. This year’s our 10th anniversary. We have the best
players on the planet for our faculty and we have over
100 students that come from all over the world. We also
feature different faculty members with their bands at the
Station Inn every night. Lots of fun...More info at-
Call us on 0407 755 507
or visit our website: www.beverleyshepherdshuts.com
Are you looking for
a study, extra guest
studio or a unique
office? Our Shepherd’s
Huts are a great
Huts is a Hunter
Valley based family
business. Each Hut is
handcrafted by our
Father & Son team and
can be custom made
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